[Marxism] South Africa: Public sector strike highlights post-apartheid’s contradictions | Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal

glparramatta glparramatta at greenleft.org.au
Sun Aug 22 18:16:59 MDT 2010


By *Patrick Bond*

August 22, 2010 -- The two major civil service unions on strike against 
the South African government have vowed to intensify pressure in coming 
days, in a struggle pitting more than a million members of the middle 
and lower ranks of society against a confident government leadership 
fresh from hosting the World Cup.
Along with many smaller public sector unions, educators from the South 
African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU) and nurses from the National 
Health and Allied Workers Union (NEHAWU) continued picketing schools, 
clinics and hospitals, leading to widespread shutdowns starting on 
August 18. Skeleton teams of doctors and military personnel were 
compelled to send non-emergency cases home.
In several confrontations with police at town centres, clinics and 
schools late last week, workers were shot with rubber bullets and water 
cannon. On August 21, the courts enjoined workers to return to jobs 
considered “emergency services”. In dozens of hospitals and clinics, 
military health workers took over.
South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma threatened mass sackings and 
attacked labour movement activists who successfully disrupted health and 
education facilities: “Even during the campaigns against the apartheid 
government we did not prevent nurses from going to work”, the leader of 
the ruling African National Congress (ANC) stated. The South African 
Communist Party (SACP) issued a statement defending the strikers but 
requested the labour movement and ANC desist from “flinging irritable 
insults at each other, while the private sector and anti-worker elements 
sit back and laugh”.

Full article at http://links.org.au/node/1852

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